NGBS Green Certification Program Marks Milestone

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Home Innovation Reserach Labs recently achieved a major milestone with its National Green Building Standard certification program.

National Green Building Standard Green Certification Program Marks Milestone
June 22, 2015
Home Innovation Research Labs (HIRL) recently announced the certification of its 50,000th home under the National Green Build­ing Standard (NGBS) certification pro­gram. Built by North Carolina-based builder Saussy Burbank, the milestone home was verified by Matt Doven­barger of South­ern Energy Management. Reaching the 50,000 milestone was celebrated during the 10th Annual Green Home Tour sponsored by the Green Home Builders of the Triangle.
Joe Robinson, Saussy Burbank’s Raleigh division president, cites the company’s dedication to providing energy-efficient homes that use good-quality, sustainable materials. Saussy Burbank opts to have all its homes NGBS Green Certified, explains Robinson, to give homeowners peace of mind, and for the builder to maintain its high  standards.
The NGBS certification process strives to provide lower energy costs and environmental sustainability, as well as improved air quality and a healthier living environment.
“When we launched the NGBS Green Certification program in January 2009 in the midst of the housing downturn, it may have seemed counterintuitive to voluntarily build homes to an above-code green standard and pay to have those homes scrutinized under a rigorous third-party certification protocol,” says HIRL president and CEO Michael Luzier in a press release. “But forward-thinking builders didn’t see it that way at all. They saw NGBS Green as a way to emerge from the downturn by building better, higher-performing, and more marketable homes—homes that smart consumers were seeking and continue to seek today, as evidenced by the volume of homes we’ve already certified and, more than ever, [that are] in our certification pipeline.”
The program serves as an opportunity for builders to enter green home building and to discover how practical it is to build green. It has also helped builders of all sizes compete in their respective markets by providing comprehensively green homes to mainstream buyers across the country.
HIRL is currently reviewing the 2015 version of the NGBS rating system to ensure that the program stays up to date on new building practices and technologies.
To honor the significant milestone of the NGBS certification and to kick off the Green Home Tour, HIRL hosted a presentation and celebration in Briar Chapel, a master planned community in Chapel Hill, N.C. The event was just one of several that the organization will host over the course of a few months to highlight the diversity of home types, buyers, and locations that fall under the umbrella of the NGBS Green national certification program.
Other events will include military housing projects, affordable single-family and multifamily projects, remodeled homes, and urban high-rise buildings.
The NGBS has changed a great deal since HIRL certified its first home in 2009. According to Michelle Desiderio, vice president of innovation services at HIRL, some of the modifications reflect how thinking surrounding sustainable living has evolved.
For example, lot design, whether for single-family or multifamily housing, has changed to include elements similar to a community garden so that residents can purchase local food.
“Universal design is another thing that’s changed since we first offered NGBS certification,” Desiderio told Professional Builder. “Aging in place is important for a family so that they don’t have to change homes years down the road because they’ve aged out of it.”
Other changes made to the NGBS standards include car sharing, a 15 percent increase in the energy-efficiency baseline, and advances in technology, including energy management devices and systems. Building envelope changes are also reflected in newer iterations of the standards. As other technologies advance and become more widely available and affordable, they, too, will be added to the NGBS standards.

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